Friday, June 15, 2007

Reading and Writing Out Of Order

Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession. - Mohandas Gandhi

I discovered via yesterday's Booking It that, almost without exception (thanks, Marty, for keeping me from feeling like a total freak!), I am one of the only confessed "peekers" in the entire blogosphere. Many non-peekers pointed out they wanted to read in the same order the author wrote.

I have another confession to make. I don't write in order. I usually write the ending first, or very close to the beginning. I wonder if the two things are related?

When I first start working on a longer piece I'll use writing prompts to get to know my characters. Nothing like tossing them into unusual and predetermined (but not determined by ME) circumstances to see how they behave. Frequently, I'll use those prompt responses as a scene at some point in the story. Also frequently those responses will give me ideas on other scenes and I'll write those, too, having no clear idea of where or whether they will fit in the story.

Bet you've figured out that I'm not a plotter, haven't you? I usually know the beginning and the end of a long story, just not exactly how to get from point A to point B. That's where the fun comes in.

To be honest, IMHO this makes the writing easier. By the time I really hunker down and get to it, I have half the novel already written -- just not in any recognizable order. It's a little like a jigsaw puzzle (something else I love to do!) and keeps the excitement and freshness in the writing. I seldom get bored. I often get frustrated or annoyed, but not bored.

And so this peeker and pantser is done confessing for now. I have a miscellaneous scene to write, based on an idea Groovy gave me a couple days ago. I don't know if it'll be part of a book, the middle of short story or something that will never see the light of day, but I'm in desperate need of writing something new after all the editing I've done lately.


I mentioned, above, that I love to assemble jigsaw puzzles. I also like crosswords and cryptoquotes, but I HATE Sudoku. That's something that feels really strange to me because, really, the idea behind all of them is similar. So I keep messing around with the daily Sudoku puzzles in my daily paper ... but I really, really hate them.

What about you? Do you like puzzles that challenge your brain? Some of them? All of them? And, if you do like Sudoku, can you please tell me what I'm missing? LOL...

Have a great day!


Ceri said...

Though I'm not a peeker, I'm definitely a pantster. I try to write out the basic jist of a story but nothing in concrete, nothing outlined or put on index cards. I also write out of order constantly. I love writing the ending long before I write the middle. It gives me something to shoot for. And I love prompts that I can work around my wip. Its probably not fair for my group memebers, but when I post a prompt it generally will fit into my storyline. Oh well, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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Dru said...

I love puzzles, but like you, I was never able to get into Sudoku. I've tried it, but I rather play with my "Brain Age" game, now that game challenges my brain.

Heather said...

I don't like Sudoku, either. Anything with numbers makes my brain go numb, and I have flashbacks of math class. *Shudder* No, thanks!

I stick to crosswords, especially the TV Guide ones. I actually have a shot at finishing those. :-)

And I never read the ending of a book first unless I know I won't read the whole thing. There was actually a book I bought recently that wasn't very good. Still, I was curious about how it ended (even though I figured out the "twist" very early, thanks to the author's clumsy foreshadowing). I had already read the first three chapters, so I skipped the middle and read the last three. And I didn't miss a thing! It turned out that the entire middle of the book was just filler.

That was kind of annoying, actually, especially since I bought that book instead of checking it out from the library. Oh, well. Live and learn.

Tori Lennox said...

I tried Sudoku once. It gave me a headache. I like crossword puzzles, though. And sometimes jigsaw puzzles.

Gay said...

Whether it's a short story, a vignette or a novel, I write the ending first, and then the beginning, and then a few plot points in between (for the longer stuff), before I go back and work (mostly) start to finish. If I get bogged down, I may jump around a little.

But I don't feel married to what I've written. I've changed the ending on my WIP twice because the characters dictated it--and the one that I have now seems so much more "right." And when I first wrote the book, it wasn't the mother's story... the focus was muddy.

I love jigsaw puzzles. I even have them on my computer, though I haven't worked any for awhile. (There's a site where I can download new ones). And I like crossword puzzles a lot, but I think playing Scrabble is my favorite. Not much into Sudoku. It's OK... better than solitaire, but who's got the time? I bring a notebook with me, or my Neo, and work on Norbert and Smedley or on my WIP.

Shauna said...

Yeah, I do NOT like Sudoku! Yuck. Too much thinking, too many numbers. Blech.

And Marianne, you're not the only "peeker" in the blogosphere. I didn't get a chance to comment on yesterday's post, but I'm taking the time now. I peek at the end of books...a lot. I used to read the end of books in the store before buying them. I wanted to be sure they had a HEA and were worth my time. :-) And, I'll also confess that sometimes I get impatient to know what's going to happen, and if I'm busy and don't have time to fully read the book in one day, I'll often read ahead and skim through the entire story to get the bulk of it. And often, I don't go back and read each word. I won't tell you how many books I've "mostly" read. LOL!

Melissa said...

Even though I no longer peek, I write the last chapter after I write the prologue. Just how my brain works.

And I love puzzles. Soduko is so cool. Love it along with anything similar!

Alice Teh said...

I still have no clue about Sudoku. I'm curious to try but keep pushing it aside because reading seems more appealing at the moment. I think it would probably stay that way for a long, long time...